A taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney, review


  1. Helen and her daughter Jo move in their flat new in Manchester
  2. Peter, Helens previous customer, finds Helen and offers her marriage, which she accepts and disposes her own daughter who, meanwhile, started dating and got pregnant during Christmas
  3. Jo expects baby and lives with her friend, probably gay Geoffrey, who helps her with household and baby
  4. Helen is asked to come ad see Jo but it is only caginess because Helen’s marriage starts to break down. Helen Offers money and plays careful mother.
  5. As soon as Helen is abandoned by Peter she returns to her daughter Jo and rids of Geof, but immediately as she learns that the baby will be black she changes from careful mother to old Helen who thinks only about herself and her own advantages.

Conflict: inside people - irresponsibility that occurs in their action/deeds towards the others. For example Helen is irresponsible as a prostitute towards her own daughter who she leaves on her own and thinks only for her own profits from younger and well off man. On the other hand Peter is irresponsible to Helen. If he likes older there is no problem but he didn’t have to marry her because then he damaged another human soul, because such woman was tight to him materially etc. and as such and abandoned didn’ have many choices what to do. Irresponsibility can be found in the actions of the boy and Jo. Only responsible person in the play was probably Geof.

However main conflict of the play was between mother and daughter, and was based on irresponsibility. Mother was running against responsibility, only pretended it, but Jo had to learn to be responsible and in the end when Jo revealed to her mother that her child will be black her mother again leaves. Nobody knows whether she will be back or not.

Point of attack: the story is taken up when Helen is suddenly pretending careful grandmother, buying things, offering advices, etc. and doesn’t want to reveal why she doesn’t do it.


Helen: old selfish prostitute about forty, good looking, both Peter and boy like her

Jo: her daughter, her probably unwanted child, her right opposite, too caring about everything and too clean

Peter Smith: about 30, former customer of Helen, still interested in her and who later married her and also sent her away. He likes drinking, to rich, constantly offending Jo and Geof.

Boy: Jo’s lover, from navy, black boy in real name Jimmy

Geof: art student, he was given sack from the previous flat because was meeting with other man, probably gay, now living with Jo and helping her with everything.

Thought: people should try to be responsible for their own deeds and not to be dependant on someone else regardless what happens.

Diction: The dialogues sound very realistic as if from real life. They describe misunderstandings between mother and daughter, they real feelings, also description of other action outside of flat, children singing, people on the street, bus stop etc. sounds realistic.

Music: It is hard to describe music from written text but probably from faint to strong according to feelings of characters. Sad, when mother was leaving, happy, when Geof occurred and so on.

Spectacle: I can imagine the play on stage with dancing only during coming or leaving the scene or going to another room as to the kitchen. Another movements as in real life, gestures, mimics etc.

Generally the play consists of two acts and two scenes in each. In my opinion aim of the play is to show what irresponsibility can cause in real life with its consequences. The tragedy rests in the fact that Jo lacks irresponsible mother who could not show her what are the real values in the life and how to struggle through it. She must learn herself, but furthermore, she must bear attempts of her mother to get rid of her while reaching profit of it.